June Writer Response: Joe Gall


Before I begin my account of jogging for Living Chapters, I want to thank Beth for coming up to Boston for a visit. Together we commiserated about the downside of running and we agreed that the aesthetics of the jogger. It is something neither of us aspire to or really appreciate. The t-shirts (with or without the stupid slogans), the shorts, the white socks, the sneakers, the visors, and baseball caps, etc. The whole thing is embarrassing and, although I have gotten over it, I still prefer to run anytime between 5:30 and 6:30 in the morning.

To prove to each other that we were in this together, Beth and I set out to jog in the late afternoon after a night at a party at which the drinks seemed to be deceptively free of alcohol. In other words, although we didn’t drink much, we wound up drinking too much. We went to a party and Beth did not have any pizza and miraculously stuck to her diet. Andy (another Living Chapter writer) was on hand to document Beth’s stay in Boston and is responsible for recording a few of her Jump Rope Journals as well as some footage of me and Beth discussing our aches and pains and general disdain for exercise.

I have to say that Beth’s dedication to this project is amazing. She brought her jump rope everywhere, did her stretching exercises daily, and has committed to jogging / running / walking for over 30 minutes per day.

My own experience has been pretty good. I go down to the high school track close by, and run / jog / walk 6 times around a quarter mile track. I alternate: 1 time around walking and jogging followed by a complete revolution around the track. At first my sides ached, my breath was short, and my legs felt incredibly heavy. After running I’d go back to bed, lie down next to my girlfriend and recover. At first it took a full hour to feel human. Then the days when I wasn’t running I’d feel my body pulsing as the muscles sought to stitch themselves back together (if that’s what muscles do). This was my experience the first 4 times out. Then something happened the last 2 sessions.

The body is an incredible thing and I can’t help but marvel at how I’ve assimilated even this much punishment into my system. I can now run without feeling like I’m going to die. This morning I even felt “good” after my workout and I am actually looking forward to running in a day or so.

My goal is this: To run two laps in a row, a full half mile, by the end of the month. So far this project of Beth’s has forced me to confront my withering will when it comes to stuff like this. By giving my word to a friend, I feel responsible and cannot let her down. Especially after I saw how much she has given herself to living out these chapters.

I’ll check in at the end of the month…

Thanks for reading,

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